David Greenglass, known as "Doovey" to his older sister Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg, was born in 1922. Greenglass, like his brother-in-law Julius, was interested in the ideas of Communism. He and his wife Ruth joined the Young Communist League in early 1943, and shortly afterwards David was inducted into the Army. While in the Army Greenglass preached his political ideas to his fellow soldiers, sometimes to their annoyance, but he proved valuable as a highly skilled machinist. When his unit shipped out of Jackson, Mississippi, and Greenglass was left behind, he suspected that it was the result of his political ideas. Ironically it was not, he had been selected to be part of the secret Manhattan Project. He was stationed in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and then later in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Greenglass was not aware that the purpose of the Manhattan Project was to develop the atomic bomb until his wife told him; she had been informed by Julius Rosenberg. In November 1944, while Ruth was visiting him in Albuquerque, he decided to pass information about the project along to Julius Rosenberg, and continued to do so until he left the Army in 1946.
Greenglass decided to be a prosecution witness against his sister and his brother-in-law in exchange for immunity for his wife Ruth, so that she might remain with their two children. Greenglass received a 15-year sentence for his role in the passing of information concerning the atomic bomb. He and Ruth remained together after he was released from prison.
In 1990, David Greenglass was living under an assumed name in a
house in the Queens when he was interviewed by Sam Roberts of the
York Times. Since released from prison, Greenglass had
invented a number
of devices, including a waterproof ornamental electrical outlet.
described Greenglass, then 68, as "still pudgy and wearing
glasses." According to Roberts, Greenglass, when asked if he would
done anything differently, replied "Never."
David Greenglass died on July 1, 2014, at the age of 92. He
spent the last few years of his life living in a nursing home
under an assumed name.
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